Lost iPhonePhoto credit: cacho_please (Flickr)

If you needed a reason to upgrade your shiny iDevice to iOS 4.2.x, and you aren’t waiting around for a jailbreak solution, then Apple’s decision to make the previous badged “Find my iPhone” service free for all iOS 4.2.x users should help you make that decision a no brainer.  This offering used to be part of Apple’s $99/£59 per year MobileMe service however Apple has rightly made a bold move forward by making such a useful and heart attack preventing service totally free.

To take advantage of this simply upgrade your iDevice to iOS 4.2.x*  Once installed go to the Settings screen on your iDevice, select “Mail”, “Contacts” then tap “MobileMe” from the list.  This will ask you to enter a “MobileMe” user name or your Apple ID.  If you’ve not already got suitable credentials then you can create an Apple ID from within the displayed screen.  Once this step has been completed a verification process will be launched.  Jump through the simple hoops and the “Find my iPhone” feature will be presented to you.

If you happen to lose your iPhone or iPad 3G you can now use Apple’s web site (or another iDevice) to track your iPhone / iPad location using it’s own built in GPS locator.  If your iPad is wifi only, you can still use the feature however it will rely on nearby wifi access points to work out it’s location.  Three other useful components of this offering are the ability to force your iDevice (even when silent and locked) to play a repeating noise to assist with your locating it; you can choose to have your iDevice display a message so anyone finding it can be given details of how to contact you  and finally, if you think it’s been stolen you an initiate a remote wipe in order to erase all your personal data.

*= if you are having problems getting iTunes to download the necessary IPSW file then we’ve download links here

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